Among the worthiest representatives of interesting and long-honored pioneer families to be found in all Santa Clara County, handsomely maintaining the old California hospitality, are Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Hunter, progressive farmers living on the the Agnew Road, northwest of Santa Clara. Highly successful as horticulturists, they are famous for their Bartlett pears. They own forty acres of choicest orchard, a part of the old Hunter home-place. Mr. Hunter was born on the old Hunter homestead on October 8, 1860, the son of A. B. Hunter, familiarly called by his friends Gus Hunter, a native of Augusta County, Va., where he was born on November 26, 1826. At an early age, his parents took him to Illinois, and from there he and his step-sister moved to Washington County, Mo., where they went to school. A. B. Hunter continued his business in Missouri until 1849, when he set out across the great plains to California; and having proceeded to the Feather River, he remained there at Bidwell's Bar until the fall of 1850. He then went to American Valley, in Plumas County, and became one of the first settlers. In 1852 he settled for a couple of years in Santa Clara County then went to the mines but in 1855 he returned to Santa Clara County and located his farm of 160 acres west of what is now Agnew, and there erected a fine residence. He identified himself with the Santa Clara Cheese Factory, and was its treasurer.

On September 18, 1855, A. B. Hunter was married at Santa Clara to Ann Rutledge, a descendant of Edward Rutledge, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a cousin of Ann Rutledge who had the distinction of having been the first sweetheart of Abraham Lincoln; and several children blessed their union. John Finley was born on August 22, 1856, and he was accidently killed on October 29, 1881, while hauling lumber for a barn—the load falling and killing him. Minnie J. married Calvin Miller, the orchardist, operating above Alum Rock, and they reside in San Jose. Frank A. is the subject of our sketch. Carrie T. is now the wife of Grandin Bray, the retired rancher, and they live at Santa Clara. Archibald Ernest Hunter, who was born on November 26, 1874, is well established in the automobile trade in San Francisco. This chapter in the history of the family is interesting especially on account of the antiquity of the family. A. B. Hunter belonged to the third generation of Samuel Hunter, who was born in Virginia. of pre-Revolutionary stock coming from the Cavaliers who migrated from England.

Augustus B. Hunter was a prominent man of affairs in Santa Clara County for many years. He held many positions of trust, and always had the
confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens. In 1881 he was elected a member of the State Legislature and this office he filled for two terms. He retired to San Jose in 1882 and in 1888 he was elected councilman from the second ward and served in that capacity for several years. As a true Argonaut of the' "days of '49," he named his stock ranch in Plumas County the American ranch, and from the ranch the valley was called American Valley; and at the ranch he opened a trading post or store, which he conducted very successfully. When, in the fall of 1852, he sold out, owing to impaired health, he intended to go to the Sandwich Islands, but he concluded first to visit friends in Santa Clara Valley. He found the climate so beneficial that he was soon restored to health, and he determined to buy a home near Lawrence Station, and to settle down to farm life. The cattle business was a great industry then, and this contributed to exercise his energy and sagacity. By thrift and industry he accumulated a handsome fortune, and as his children grew to manhood and womanhood, he provided generously for each of them. During the later years of his life. Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Hunter resided at 86 North Sixth Street in a commodious house he had built there, and for many years he had been a prominent member of the Santa Clara lodge of Odd Fellows. The character of his life, the good he wrought, and the noble ambitions he still held out as a possible goal, make the manner and the time of Mr. Hunter's taking off a matter of the deepest sorrow and regret. On the afternoon of October 16, 1902, Mr. Hunter was killed, by accident, on the road above Alum Park. He was returning to San Jose with his wife from a visit to their daughter, Mrs. Miller, and when at a point in the road where there is a dangerous grade, the horse became frightened. Be fore anything could stop him, he backed the buggy over the grade, some thirty or forty feet. Mrs. Hunter was held in buggy by the top, and in some way or other protected from serious injury; Mr. Hunter, on the other hand, fell out, and either the horse or the buggy crushed him. He lived to ask his wife if she was hurt, in answer to her solicitous inquiry, but was dead when picked up by Charles Bozhe, who had witnessed the accident and gone to their assistance. When at the bottom, Mrs. Hunter, who was not badly hurt, called to her husband to learn of his injuries. "Are you much hurt?" she asked. "Yes, mother, I am badly hurt; but are you safe?" Mrs. Hunter found that her foot was caught in the buggy in some way, and that she could not release it until she unlaced her shoe, which she did, and crawled to where her husband lay; but when she reached him, he had ceased to breathe, his words of tender solicitude as to her injuries being the last he spoke. The aged couple were devotedly attached to their children, and the children reciprocated with an affection that was beautiful to see. Their very visit to the Millers was in accordance with their custom of spending a night or two with each of their children at least once a week.

Frank Hunter was reared on the old Hunter homestead and educated in the local school and in a private school in Santa Clara; and from early days he assisted his father on the farm. On December 24, 1882, he was married to Miss Lydia A. Ortley, a daughter of Captain John Jacob Ortley, who was born in New York City on September 14, 1827, and there resided until his eighteenth year. Having learned the sailmaker's trade, he shipped on the barque Rosina on June 26, 1845, and voyaged to South America; and he was afterward employed on the brig Don Juan, which was engaged in the slave trade. He remained with that craft only a short time, however, and once more shipped on the Rosina, where he remained for three and a half years; and then, as an able seaman, he sailed on the Union to New Orleans, and made two later trips as second mate. He then came out to California on the ship Caroline Reed, in 1849, and he was afterward in the service of different vessels on the Coast, while he for many years was proprietor of the Union line of packets plying between Alviso and San Francisco. He came to own certain warehouses in Alviso township; while in the town of Alviso he had a comfortable home and thirty-five lots, and he was a school trustee for ten years. On the day before Christmas, in 1858, Captain Ortley was married to Almira Wade, by whom he had ten surviving children: Lydia A., the wife of the subject of this story; Julia D., Lucy W., Mary L., John J., Almira L., Emily E., Oliver J., William B., and Hattie R. Mrs. Ortley died in 1907, closing a fruitful, happy life in which she had made many friends. Captain Ortley passed away in 1913. Almira Wade crossed the great plains with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wade, in 1849, and having settled near Alviso, the Wades ever afterward were identified with movements for progress in the Valley. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Hunter engaged in farming on the Hunter ranch, and here he raised alfalfa and grain, and conducted a dairy. In 1888 they became the owners of sixty acres of the old homestead; they built a new house and in connection with rairying they set out a year orchard, raising berries while the orchard was young. Three children have been born to them: A. B. Hunter, is a rancher, with a fine pear orchard in the Jefferson district, where he lives with his wife, Mary Jane Malley before her marriage, and their two children, A. B. Hunter, Jr., and Clifford B. Hunter. Elva is the wife of B. L. Ward, the undertaker at San Jose; they have two children. William B. and Frances H. Clifton married Maud M. Coyle; and they are ranching in Yuba County. Mr. Hunter is a member of the California Pear Association and politically indorses the principles of the Democratic platform.

 Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1121


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight